On New Beginnings

Hop into your TARDIS and travel with me back to 2004, when a skinny eighteen year-old boy from Illinois launched StefanClaypool.com with one mission: get into college. In the eight years since launch, StefanClaypool.com has regenerated, Time Lord-style, into several different incarnations, and included many sub-sites and side projects. It has evolved into a space for self-expression, where I could explore the things that move me and chart my personal development. In recent years, I've posted less frequently, especially as Twitter evolved into a great platform for expressing quick thoughts. Still, I've kept the site around in the belief that there are some things that can't be expressed in 140 characters.

One inspiration to keep blogging has been the spectacular work done by some of the web's premiere Mac bloggers - namely, Shawn Blanc and Ben Brooks, who have built great sites that reflect their interests and character. And as time has passed and my passion for my previous mode of blogging has waned, I found myself looking to them and others as I tried to map a way forward.

About three months ago, I decided that it was time to overhaul the site. I had been working on an installation of Wordpress for about three years, and was unhappy with both the platform and my hosting company. It was like living with a Windows PC, in that everything kind of worked, but nothing worked well. If I were going to recommit myself to this blog, I needed a new platform on which to build. Tumblr, while popular, has always struck me as "blog lite" - the mutant child of LiveJournal and MySpace - and I wasn't interested in what it had to offer. have no background as a programmer, apart from some rudimentary HTML skills, so building my own custom blogging platform like the big boys do simply wasn't an option.

I'm a big fan of what Dan Benjamin does over at 5by5, and have frequently heard him sing Squarespace's praises. I wasn't interested until I heard him start talking about Squarespace 6, the latest and greatest version of the platform. With nothing to lose, I signed up for a trial account and was immediately blown away. Squarespace eliminated everything that made blogging a hassle, leaving me to focus on what matters: writing.

For the last few weeks, I've been moving my content over to Squarespace, as well as redesigning my site for both desktop and mobile devices. I've also given some serious thoughts to what I'd like StefanClaypool.com to be going forward. I've hit on something I'm happy with for now, and have reached the point where I'm comfortable making the site public.

Right now, StefanClaypool.com has two features, and for the moment, that's all I feel comfortable managing. The first is the main blog, where I'll be posting longer thoughts on the things that interest me, including technology, gaming, comics, TV, business, politics, and more. In addition, I'll be posting links to other longform articles that interest me and providing some brief commentary, Daring Fireball-style. This is the core of the site, and where I'll be devoting most of my time.

The second feature is the Recommendations list. I'm trying new and exciting things every day, and frequently find myself falling in love with a product, a meal, or a work of art. But sitting down and reviewing everything I love (or everything I hate) is a huge time-suck, and more often that not, I don't do it. The goal of the Recommendations list is to function as sort of a review site without the review. I won't be running down what I love about everything I post - just assume that anything I feel the need to post there gets five stars. It's a way for me to share the things I love with you.

This is a new direction for my blog and I, and I hope you'll find it as rewarding as I will.